A man accused of a vicious cannibal-style attack on a Florida couple in 2016 was hit with a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday claiming the alleged killer is wrongly being painted as an “ordinary college student” who suffers from mental illness.
The family of Michelle Mischcon Stevens filed the lawsuit Tuesday against Austin Harrouff, 21, who is accused of beating and stabbing the woman and biting her husband John Stevens’ flesh on Aug. 15, 2016 at the couple's Palm Beach house.
Stevens’ family said they're frustrated on the lack of progress in the murder case and how Harrouff has been portrayed to the public.
“We are tired of and sickened of Austin being portrayed by ‘his team’ as an ordinary college student who didn’t do any drugs and must suffer from mental illness because there’s no other explanation for what he did,” Jodi Mishcon-Bruce, Michelle’s sister, said, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
In the court filing, the family said Harrouff was a drug and alcohol user who displayed violent behavior before the killings. Harrouff had abused a slew of drugs including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, acid, Ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms, Vyvanse, Xanax and Adderall, the suit alleged.
The suit also stated Harrouff recorded songs that showed his desire to kill “with a knife.”
"Austin is a monster, and he deserves to pay with his life or, at a minimum, to be locked up in prison for the rest of his life, but, again, we have no control of that," Mischcon-Bruce said. "Our only recourse at this point is to file a civil lawsuit against him and show the world exactly who Austin is."
On the day of the incident, Harrouff had stormed out of a restaurant following a fight with his father. His mother said she found her son drinking a concoction of cooking oil and Parmesan cheese that, according to the lawsuit, was mixed with hallucinogenic mushrooms.
About 45 minutes later, Harrouff launched his attack at the Stevenses, leaving their mangled and bloody bodies in their driveway as deputies arrived to find the horrifying scene. Harrouff, then 19, was found wearing only underwear, making animal noises and biting Stevens' face as he pinned his victim's body to the driveway.
Harrouff also allegedly attacked a neighbor trying to intervene with the attack.
The lawsuit seeks more than $15,000 for damages and expenses.
Harrouff is awaiting trial and is being held without bail on charges including first-degree murder.
His attorney, Nellie King, previously said her client has “severe mental illness” and that tests determined Harrouff was not on flakka or bath salts at the time of the incident. Tests also shows small amount of THC, component in marijuana, in Harrouff’s system.
She told the New York Daily News on Tuesday that claims made by the recent lawsuit are “illogical and transparent.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.